Concierge Sales: 3 Ways to Take Your Service to the Next Level
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of the concierge at high-end hotels like the Waldorf Astoria or the Ritz-Carlton. If you’re unfamiliar, a concierge has one job and one job only: to please the hotel guests by catering to their every desire. If you’ve ever needed last-minute reservations at the fanciest restaurant in town, recommendations to keep small children happy during an extended stay, or to locate that seemingly impossible book you promised to bring your daughter upon your return home, the concierge is there to solve complex—even apparently insurmountable—problems.
That brief job description of catering to the wants and needs of hotel guests is very similar to that of a salesperson. Much like a skilled concierge, the No. 1 job of a salesperson is to help their clients get what they want with as little friction as possible. As such, the same traits that make a good concierge exceptional are the same ones that separate the extraordinary salespeople from the mediocre ones:
• Anticipation – Both a great concierge and an excellent salesperson know what their clients want, even when they don’t know themselves. Any promotional products salesperson can respond to the average, simple request: 144 ceramic mugs with a one-color decoration, in one location, and shipping to one site. However, the salespeople who succeed wildly and create loyalty can predict the use of specific merchandise, in distinctive packaging, with individual delivery that will move the recipients to action.
• Details – An outstanding concierge pays attention to every detail, no matter how ostensibly insignificant. In other words, they hear what their guest is saying not just verbally but nonverbally. The same trait applies to salespeople in that the details are what separates the great from the average: understanding what the client has done before, who the target audience is, and what emotion needs to be elicited when the branded merchandise is received. The genuinely exceptional salesperson inspects every element of the order to ensure that the result will be one of surprise and delight.
• Creativity – The most helpful concierges possess a great deal of creativity; specifically, the imagination necessary to look at a problem and find a unique or innovative way to solve it. Similarly, the excellent promotional products salesperson will find a way to resolve marketing challenges in ways that are best suited to the needs of each specific customer. Knowing that the solution for one client may not work for another is critical to ensuring that the expectations of each customer are exceeded as opposed to simply being met.
The extraordinary concierge and outstanding salesperson share one additional purpose: to enhance the customer’s experience in every way possible. At every conceivable opportunity, both will do everything in their power to not only solve the initial problem but will also be so memorable that the client will happily pay for that same experience again and again.
There is an old saying that has been adopted by world-class hotels concerning how they expect their concierges to act with guests: “The difficult can be done immediately; the impossible will take a few minutes.” By adopting this mindset, you embrace the real purpose of sales, which is to help people get what they want as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Bill has over 20 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products companies, always working collaboratively to achieve the “wow” desired by the target audience.
A Managing Partner at brandivate, a full-service marketing services and advertising agency, Bill is featured speaker at numerous national and international events, a serial creator of content marketing, and co-host of the industry-leading podcast, Promo UPFront. Bill has extensive experience defining brand strategy, creating successful marketing campaigns, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.
A fierce advocate for the Promotional Products Industry, he is the Immediate Past President of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, has worked closely with senior leadership at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) on many committees and work groups. In appreciation of his years of service to the promotional products industry, Bill was named as an inaugural PPAI Fellow—a program designed to recognize influential individuals who have actively supported the industry through personal involvement.
Bill lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of 26 years, Sandy, and their 17-year-old twin boys, Drew and Mitch.